For the first time in the brief history of ipl, the royal challengers went into the tournament considered as real title contenders than mere also-ran. With experienced foreign players who had mastered the art of t20 and young Indian contingent in devastating form RCB were billed as the team to beat. With all the hype surrounding them, the first match turned out to be a disaster. Manoj Tiwary returning back to kkr demolished the RCB bowling attack to setup an easy victory for the knight riders. It looked like memories of IPL 1 are back to haunt us once again, but the team brushed aside all such fears in the next match with kallis leading the way and robin for company RCB made a mockery of kings XI target of 204 with more than an over to spare Then started the golden run, which saw RCB zoom to the top of the table. Warnie’s boys were bounced out, Mumbai demolished in their own den, MSD’s boys silenced RCB were on a roll .Kallis’s consistency at the top, Robin’s big hitting, Kumble’s accuracy and Steyn’s hostility suddenly RCB was looking unbeatable But as always with ipl, the only thing consistent with the ipl is inconsistency and it was in full view as a team that looked unbeatable a few days ago, suddenly looked vulnerable with 2 consecutive losses. Outclassed by Delhi and Battered by Vijay’s ferocious hitting, there were a few doubts starting to arise midway in the tournament 4wins out of 7 was not such a bad start and at midway through the tournament RCB’s position in the league table was quite stable and 4 more wins in remaining 7 and a plethora of big hitters scheduled to arrive RCB would have been expected to make it comfortably to the semis. But you are never there until you are actually there. To know whether RCB made it to the semis watch out for my next post
PHASE 1 : 's review for rc's performance
PHASE 2 : 's review for rc's performance
The Royal Challengers started off with a bang, winning 4 out of the 5 matches and zoomed to the top of the table. With players of huge reputation like Peterson, White and Taylor joining the red brigade all expected RCB to cruise through to the semis but a string of defeats almost threatened to hijack all calculations. But fighting of all other contenders, Men in red managed to squeeze through into the semis.
Phase 2 was marked with critical games with almost 7 teams with a realistic chance of making it to the semis. Here is a recap of that phase of the competition which saw all the glorious uncertainty the game of cricket is known for.
Match 1: RCB vs. Kings XI
Kings XI 182/5; RCB 184/4
With a couple of defeats on trot, RCB would not have minded facing the bottom-table team, Kings XI. But it looked like they were in for a tough fight. After a sedate start, Sangakkara, Bopara and Yuvi tore the RCB attack into shreds with a mixture of innovative shots and brutal bludgeoning. There was no respect for any bowler with Kallis being the worst sufferer. With last 5 overs yielding 62, RCB had a stiff target to chase. As RCB came out to bat, their batting main stay Kallis was dismissed early .But with an array of hitters the target was always gettable. A decent partnership between Pandey and KP set up the chase and with 48 required in 4 overs it was time for Robin to come to the party. An over of 25 by Brett Lee and the match was pretty much in the bag. With KP anchoring the chase there were no hiccups and the score was surpassed with an over to spare.
MY TAKE: Robin’s big hitting in the end masked the fact that our death bowling was pathetic to say the least. Without an exception Kallis, Kumble, Praveen, Vinay got pasted to all corners of the ground. If not for Punjab’s largesse in the field (they dropped KP thrice) the target would have been much tougher than it actually was
Match 2 - RCB vs. Daredevils
Daredevils 184/5; RCB 147/9
There was a shock for RCB fans even before the match with Steyn and Praveen Kumar not being in the playing eleven and their absence was felt as Warner and Viru laid into the RCB attack with fast cameos. As both were dismissed in quick succession there was a need for someone to step up to the plate and Paul Collingwood stood up to be counted as he took the score from what seemed like a manageable score to a match winning one. With Kallis being unable to up the pace and Delhi having the right attack for the surface, RCB never threatened to reach the target of 185. With too much to do Robin and Ross tried in vain as RCB fell short again to Daredevils for second time in 10 days.
MY TAKE: Went with a weaker bowling attack and after a good start was exposed by Paul Collingwood. Slow start with Kallis again being the culprit, leaving too much to the power hitters in the end turned out to be disastrous as RCB fell short by a considerable distance
Match 3 - RCB vs. Deccan
RCB 184/6; Deccan 186/3
With revenge on their minds RCB faced Deccan for the first time since last years final. But things did not go RCB’s way as batsmen after batsmen made their way back to the pavilion. But a superb rearguard action by Kohli, Kallis and coupled with White’s histrionics at the end ensured RCB had an excellent total to defend. With Gilly and Rohit dismissed and with a demanding required rate, RCB would have fancied their chances. But big Roy with Suman for company blasted one six after another to win the game in a canter.
MY TAKE: After an excellent recovery by the batsmen it was the turn of the bowlers to be proliferate. With match seemingly in hand, poor death bowling at the end allowed Suman and Symmo to make merry
Match 4 - RCB vs. KKR
KKR 160/9; RCB 162/3
With shades of the brutal assault of Brendon McCullum in the inaugural match of IPL still fresh in memory, RCB went into the match against KKR having to win to maintain their league position. And the beginning was reminiscent of the inaugural match with Gayle, Ganguly and McCullum unleashing their full repertoire of shots. After 11 overs, KKR were cruising at 101/1, and a big total looked imminent. But a combination of intelligent bowling and lackluster batting contributed to a below par score of 160. The chase began nervously as Kallis and Sriram could not match up to the rate in face of some tight bowling. But enter Dravid and the match took a dramatic turn and when he was out for a 35 ball 52 there was a small matter of finishing the job off and Robin did it without a sweat, reverse sweeping KKR into submission.
MY TAKE: This time it was the bowlers who came to the party pegging the Knight riders to a modest total after a rollicking start and the batsmen completed the job well begun with minimum of fuss.
Match 5 - RCB vs. Deccan
DC 151/6; RCB 138/10
One more chance to remove memories of last years finals presented itself when RCB travelled to the ‘City of Oranges’. With Ste(y) n Gun firing in all cylinders, Deccan were reeling at 16/3.with some adventurous batting, Deccan posted a fighting total of 151.The chase would have been a walk in the park right? But what happened next was unbelievable as after a good start RCB inexplicably lost their way as Deccan bowlers tightened the screws in the middle overs. But even as wickets tumbled Robin singlehandedly stood between DC and victory. With 18 required in the final 2 and Robin at the crease it still looked possible. But Harmeet Singh bowled a once in a life time over to put the match beyond RCB’s reach.
MY TAKE: Batsmen being extremely cautious while chasing a low total proved to be their undoing as the middle order was left to do too much and a fiery spell of fast bowling by Steyn went in vain.
Match 6 - RCB vs. Royals
RR 130/6; RCB 132/5
Faced with a must win situation, RCB squared off against RR knowing that any slip up here would mean out of the contention for the semis slot. Royals were never allowed to gain momentum as wickets fell at regular intervals and they crawled to a modest 130.The victory was never in doubt and it was only a matter of in how many than whether. But with KP batting like a maniac the net run rate was never going to be an issue. An ordinary match was made spicier by the heated argument between KP and Kohli after KP’s unnecessary dismissal. But all said and done RCB had achieved what it set out for. A big victory and a healthy net run rate also made them certain for a spot in the semis.
MY TAKE: Excellent strategy to bowl short to the royals yielded results as batsmen after batsmen were out trying to fend bouncers. The dismissal of Pathan was a classic as the batsmen waiting for the short ball was castled by a swinging yorker. A perfect match rounded off by KP bludgeoning the Royals attack.
Match 7 - RCB vs. MI
MI 191/4; RCB 134/9
The match almost never took off as a bomb blast outside the stadium threatened to disrupt the game. But timely interference by IPL authorities and the Police ensured match would go on. But as the match started RCB would have wished it never did. After getting Sachin early, the RCB attack was battered into submission by the likes of Rayudu, Pollard and Duminy as MI posted 191.Against a strong bowling attack a strong start was needed. Once the start was not there, RCB was never in the hunt and submitted meekly by 56 runs. The heavy defeat meant RCB had to depend on the other team’s results to move to the next stage.
MY TAKE: Everything went wrong on the day. First an explosion, bowlers being made to look pedestrian, catches being dropped, losing wickets at regular intervals. To sum it all up a very bad day in the office
After much permutation and combination RCB occupied the last of the semis berth and looked to go one better than the last time. To know what happened in the semis watch out for my next post